Diversity and inclusion should be at the heart of the St Andrews experience, and should inform all that we do. As a truly international and world-class university, our ambition is to be a beacon of inclusivity. We will achieve this through an approach that empowers our whole community – through a combination of deliberate steps sponsored by the University’s leadership, and a determined shift in culture that embraces everyone, from students, academic and professional staff, to our alumni. Inclusivity will inform and affect policy and practice across the piece. There is evidence that shows that diverse organisations work smarter, encourage innovation, and maximise the creativity that is fundamental to academic excellence. Our approach to diversity and inclusion will therefore foster an environment that enables staff and students to engage with intellectual challenges while realising their own potential.

Graphic of a diverse group of people



Inclusion also means broader engagement in more diverse and balanced leadership. We aim to develop a culture of emergent leadership that spans all levels of experience and background, and includes students and academic and professional services staff. We believe in drawing out ability and encouraging those with the capacity to motivate and guide the institution to have the opportunity to do so. We will provide the structures and mechanisms that encourage students and staff to develop their potential through support, training, and mentoring, based on the values of openness, fairness, and inclusion.


We will actively engage in national agendas, including government initiatives on widening access, while taking a perspective that is more ambitious. We believe that equality and excellence are entirely compatible and we aim to attract those who can flourish at St Andrews from around the world regardless of their age or background.


The progress that we need to make in relation to gender balance at various staff grades, in terms of the pay gap, and in our student community in some subject areas, will receive strategic focus.


We will engage with parents, carers, and part-time staff to ensure that their career paths are treated with fairness and flexibility.


We acknowledge as an institution that a priority for us in the next phase must be greater racial and ethnic diversity. We will seek to address the experience of people from black and ethnic minority communities at all levels of the University, in order to make meaningful interventions in respect of recruitment, representation, and curriculum reform. As a global university, we will assume a more active position towards academics at risk and children of refugees.


We recognise that mental health challenges affect the well-being of staff and students and will extend our capacity for support while building a culture of care, tolerance, and resilience. We will proactively address provision for staff and students with disabilities in our policies and in our estate.


Intersectionality is a key aspect of inclusivity, and we will encourage projects across our community that speak to the experience of students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, our LGBTQ+ staff and students, our staff and students with disabilities, and to individual faiths and philosophies of life.


We will continue to build on the institution-wide activities that supported our 2018 institutional bronze Athena SWAN award and created a belief in change amongst both staff and students, and a palpable shift in culture. It is only through a consultative and inclusive approach that we can bring about lasting cultural change. With this in mind, we will develop a People Strategy that will set the framework for how we develop the University as a single community with a shared purpose. We will take a whole-university approach to growing capability and instilling ownership and pride.


Diverse St Andrews will:

Enable the University of St Andrews to be identified in the next decade as an institution that is inclusive, inspirational, and incentivised to go on being so

Embed the structures that let students and staff develop their potential, in energising rather than bureaucratic ways

Work strategically to remove the gender pay gap

Improve provision for disabled staff and students, and involve all staff and students in so doing

Give focus to intersectionality and the promotion of a strongly diverse community

Develop a reward structure that values sustained commitment to diversity, inclusivity, fairness, and social responsibility


We will deliver this by:

  • Giving explicit attention to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion within the University’s leadership structures
  • Setting up and supporting the work of a cross-institutional group with senior management leadership to develop a People Strategy
  • Incentivising leadership and investing in training and mentoring to develop leadership potential across the whole University community
  • Taking forward the ambitious agenda set out in our Equality Outcomes statement and supporting its action plan
  • Working closely with our recognised trade unions to address issues, including the gender pay gap and the appropriate use of flexible contracts
  • Successfully attaining the Race Equality Charter mark


The progress of Diverse St Andrews will be indicated by:

  • Enhanced diversity of our staff and students;
  • A growing pipeline of leadership and expertise among our community of staff, students, and alumni;
  • Greater well-being and levels of resilience amongst staff and students;
  • Reviewed policies, processes, and materials that incentivise and support the objectives of Diverse St Andrews.


Fundamental investment requirements:

  • Targeted support to maintain and where possible increase the diversity of the student body;
  • Development of strategic leadership;
  • Coordinated training programmes to develop diverse talent.


Our demographic profile is highly distinctive with over 45% of our students and staff coming from outside the UK.